Radishes, sweet potatoes and shallots are roasted with balsamic vinegar and then tossed with fresh arugula in this savory arugula salad recipe.
July was the hottest month in recorded human history, the Washington Post reported this morning. We sweated through it, closing curtains to the punishing heat of the morning sun, reversing the direction of the fans so that it — in theory — would suck the humidity and heat out of the house during the day and blowing in the cooler nighttime air.
Since moving to Maine, we’ve been air conditioning-free by choice. Back in Connecticut, there was an air conditioner in every room, humming a rhythm and keeping the house temperatures even on hot days. But Maine’s summer is milder. It’s more like the summers of my childhood. I don’t know where all those window units and the floor unit went, but it wasn’t with me.
I even turned down offers for units over the last few years. I am much happier existing with the natural temperatures and allowing my body to feel hot and cold. I love the scent of the world waking up, all dewy and fresh. And I love hearing the birds chatter and the squirrels dash between branches.
But we wouldn’t smell that or hear that if air conditioners were humming along all the time.
Still, July was a challenge. It was hot — so hot that sleeping on the cool couch sounded like a good idea on some nights. So hot that our cat, still yet a kitten, looked for the coolest places to nap (under beds, on hardwood floors), and eyed me whenever I was around as if to say, “can’t you make it cooler? I’m burning up in my fur.”
But on this August day, I woke up to a cool breeze wafting in the window. Was it just days ago that it felt like we’d never cool the house down again?
I don’t know if this is a momentary shift or a sign that we’re ending the later part of summer — the part with warm, sunny days and cool nights. The part where we can wear sleeveless tops in the day and sweatshirts at night. The part where the house says comfortable all the time.
Either way, there’s a month left of summer vacation and I am not about to let any of it slip through our fingers. The kids and I compiled a list of the things we want to do before school starts again — simple things like go swimming, visit a pond we love and have a picnic and more involved things like go tubing and hike in Acadia. They’re away this week, which is never fun for me, but when they return, I am so ready to start ticking off items on our summer list.
Savoring what’s in season
Meanwhile, now is the happiest time of my eating year. These are the days when the farms at the farmers market are brimming with fresh produce. Greens and squash and tomatoes and beans. It’s all there, all ready to be transformed into fresh, flavorful dishes.
Our garden is brimming with produce too, though we didn’t grow it with summer in mind. Or, at least I didn’t. I wanted to ensure we could eat well throughout the year — and perhaps even save a little money on produce too. So far, so good on that front. We’ve frozen many, many string beans, plenty of peas and canned some pickled radishes too.
If you happen to have some radishes around, a few sweet potatoes and some fresh arugula, this Arugula Salad with Balsamic Roasted Radishes and Sweet Potatoes is a must-make.
Radishes, sweet potatoes and a shallot are roasted with a little olive oil, salt and pepper until tender. Then they’re tossed with a bit of balsamic vinegar and roasted a little longer.
Toss the mixture with arugula. Dress with additional balsamic — if desired — and a touch of salt. I like this with a sprinkle of blue cheese as well, but that’s optional.
Then dig in. This arugula salad is simple, flavorful and a lovely way to celebrate the season’s freshest produce.
- 1 bunch radishes, trimmed, washed and quartered
- 1 medium sweet potato, cut into ½-inch dice
- 1 shallot, peeled and quartered
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- 4 cups baby arugula
- Crumbled blue cheese (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
On a nonstick baking sheet, stir together the radishes, sweet potato and shallot. Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, stir and then roast for 10-15 minutes move.
Drizzle the roasted vegetables with balsamic vinegar and toss to combine. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
Toss the roasted vegetables with the baby arugula. Divide onto four plates and drizzle with a little additional balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and, if desired, blue cheese.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.